Mitt Romney has struggled with his position on abortion. He has been accused of being a flip-flopper, and Romney has shifted his stance from being pro-choice, to saying that he was always pro-life, to now admitting that he used to be pro-choice.
Earlier this week, Romney released clips from "Ask Mitt Anything," including one he titles "Right to Life". David Brody, over at the Christian Broadcasting network asked his readers what they thought. There was… a split over whether Romney was even pro-life:
"This is the clearest statement I have heard from him and I am shocked. This is not even vaguely pro-life. I am not sure it is even anti-Roe. He limits what kinds of pro-life laws could be passed to "reasonable" ones, while allowing MA to do whatever it wants."
In other words, an actual pro-life voter doesn’t think that Romney is even opposed to Roe, much less pro-life. However, an interest group guy ("national Evangelical leader") was much more open to Romney’s position:
When I contacted a prominent national Evangelical leader about this he told me:
"I am not bothered by his statement. It has been my opinion for sometime that restoring a culture of life in America is going to be a state to state battle. Fortunately, when you get to the states, the pro-life perspective is much stronger than in Washington. Its the same with same sex marriage, the problem is not the state elected officials it is the unelected federal judges who have interjected themselves into the most controversial public policy debates of our time without regard to history or the citizens."
My sense has been for a while that Romney does better with the Washington crowd, which is variously more incremental (strategic?) or just assimilated to Washington. I think the second opinion both describes and exemplifies that perspective.
A group of state-level pro-life activists have recently attacked Romney’s pro-life record with RomneyCare, claiming it publicly-funds abortion. Now, this is an old fight. But these guys have managed to bring two new angles. First, they have a FOIA request, asking how many abortions have been publicly funded under RomneyCare. Second, they argue that he could have line-item vetoed certain provisions of the law.
On a certain level, the issue is not so much the truth of these statements. Inevitably, Romney will have a finely parsed statement. But credible people keep beating the drums. These stories are not going away. And Mitt Romney will continue to struggle with attacks on his social conservative credentials.